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4 keys for the Vancouver Canucks to win the series vs. the Edmonton Oilers: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
1 month ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discuss some key areas Vancouver will need to excel in against the Oilers for a better chance to advance to round 3.
Key 1: Don’t let the Oilers’ defence break the puck out
Quads began with his first key: preventing the Oilers’ defence from breaking the puck out. “This idea of a matchup with J.T. Miller against Connor McDavid isn’t just Miller shadowing McDavid- it’s much more than that. It’s about not letting the Oilers defense get the puck to McDavid,” he said.
“Absolutely. Can you get that aggressive forecheck to be connected, get your defenseman to pinch up the walls and win battles when the Oilers are going back to retrievals so McDavid doesn’t have a chance to wind up with the puck in the first place,” agreed Harm. “They did that really well the first three times they played. That was a huge reason why they were able to contain McDavid; they exploited Edmonton’s defence with their ability to apply pressure on the forecheck. Once you recover possession, you basically play keep-away in the offensive zone. The way the Canucks control the puck in the attacking zone; they’re not a team that’s trying a lot of risky east-west plays. It’s simple high to low action, but if McDavid or Draisaitl are on the ice and are defending, it’s perfect defence. You’re not just manufacturing offence, you’re also forcing them to defend their own end. That’s going to be essential.”
Key 2: Goaltending
“I think the Canucks have the slight advantage here,” Quads stated. “We know what Stuart Skinner is and what he can do. He hasn’t taken over a playoff series to this point in his career. Arturs Silovs was so good in that Nashville series towards the end. We’ve seen him go on runs, obviously in Latvia but also in Abbotsford this season. He was one of the streakiest goaltenders in the AHL this season. His raw numbers in Abbotsford weren’t great, but he was really good for stretches. Named goaltender of the month at points in the AHL season. Better numbers for Silovs but do you worry at all that this streak might end for him? Of course. I think he’s just going to continue and pick up where he left off against Nashville when they play the Oilers tonight.”
Key 3: Coaching
“From a coaching perspective, Rick Tocchet is going to need to be on point with his adjustments,” Harm said. “If there’s a situation where let’s say you start with the Lindholm line against the Draisaitl line and you’re getting crushed; you need to find another solution on the fly. Line combinations, matchups and especially when the series shifts to Edmonton, it’s going to be fascinating to see how often you can truly get J.T. Miller out against McDavid. From an Oilers perspective, I don’t want McDavid out there against Miller, so if the other lines are forced to contain McDavid, what can Rick Tocchet do to make sure they contain him? The coaching staff is going to have to be on point, you can’t wait too long to make changes and decisions on the fly.”
Key 4: Special Teams
“With the PK, the biggest key is you can’t let them get setup in the first place,” Harm said. “Once Edmonton gets setup, you’re dead. You could put out the four best penalty killers in the world on the ice and it would be such a challenge once they’re set up. They’ve got so many threats. It’s not just McDavid, you got Draisaitl back door and if you cheat to one of those guys Zach Hyman is going to clean up. Bouchard sometimes ends up with extra space because the killers are occupied with the forwards and he can let it fly. For the Canucks, that means faceoffs are massive. Getting that initial clear is huge.”
You can watch the full replay of today’s show below:

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